Emmanuel Macron inaugurates the Chanel 19M – WWD

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday officially inaugurated 19M, Chanel’s hub for its specialist workshops on the border between Paris and its northern suburb of Aubervilliers, lauding it as an example for perpetuating artisan traditions valuable to the national economy.

“The professions you represent are crucial,” he told an audience made up of several of the 600 artisans who work in the building, as well as Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot and Education Minister Jean- Michael Blanker. “The luxury, fashion and arts and crafts professions in our country are a flagship. They now represent 600,000 jobs,” he continued. “When you look at the 2021 numbers, that was our biggest export sector.”

He told the craftsmen: “You can be proud of the trades you do because they are important for the French economy and its development… These are gestures and trades that are part of our history. It is essential to preserve, sustain and enrich them,” he said. “We must pass them on”

The training and recruitment of young people has been a part of Macron’s program since his election in 2017. Particularly in the luxury segment, the difficulty of transmitting artisanal and industrial know-how to younger generations and of recruiting young talents is considered a the key to the future of the industry. It is estimated that in fashion and leather goods, some 10,000 jobs are vacant in France.

“For fashion and leather goods, we need a lot more talent than what is currently being trained,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel Fashion and Chanel SAS.

The opening of 19M last March allowed the specialized workshops belonging to Chanel to intensify their recruitment initiatives. Around 200 new employees joined the workshops there last year, double what was initially planned.

During a speech, Pavlovsky said the company is strengthening its commitment to employing more young people and will welcome 1,200 interns every year for the next three years.

“We have decided to commit ourselves even more to prioritizing youth employment, because we are now better equipped thanks to our workshops, our tools and our structure for supervising young people, and we want to accelerate our commitment on all our French sites, not just here. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Pavlovsky told WWD.

Macron, accompanied by his wife Brigitte Macron, visited a number of specialist workshops in the building, which houses 11 workshops, an embroidery school and an exhibition space, interacted with employees and learned how a felt hat is molded at Maison Michel and observe the folds being formed in Lognon, for example.

Pavlovsky continues: “To find these talents and stimulate these vocations, you have to attract people who do not necessarily know these trades.

Industry players have reported that recruiting skilled workers has become even more complex since the start of the pandemic, although according to the president’s office, 700,000 apprenticeship contracts were signed last year, compared to an average between 250,000 and 270,000 five years ago.

Chanel hopes to make the site near Porte d’Aubervilliers, a neighborhood that has seen an influx of homeless migrants in recent years, a beacon of social mobility by recruiting young people from nearby neighborhoods to learn specialist skills in its workshops. luxury.

Macron also visited the first exhibition held in the site’s gallery space, a modular 13,000 square foot space designed by Studio GGSV dedicated to craftsmanship.

His first exhibition, entitled “L’Ouverture” and taking place until April 23, traces the construction of the building, delves into the work of the houses that house it and highlights the collaborations between them and contemporary artists.

It also offers a collaborative embroidery workshop that visitors can participate in with Maison Lemarié, Lesage and Atelier Montex to create a monumental embroidered map of the neighborhoods surrounding the building.

The exhibition space is essential both to inspire people who work in construction and to raise awareness of the professions involved, explained Pavlovsky. Future facilities will also serve this dual purpose. “We have to use it to inspire both our artisans and the public,” he said. “People don’t know about these trades, and that’s why the gallery is important, because it will create a dialogue with the outside world, and allow people to discover the trades concerned.

The site bears the name 19M — 19 for the number of the Parisian district which adjoins the site, and M for French words such as “mains”, “mode” and “métier”.

Spanning nearly 275,000 square feet spread over five floors and two basements, the building designed by award-winning architect Rudy Ricciotti features a striking structure covered in a concrete shell evoking wires, a nod to eye to the know-how of the French fashion house.

It houses the embroiderers Lesage and Montex; cobbler Massaro; feather worker and florist Lemarié; the milliner Maison Michel; Lognon pleater; grand flou workshop Paloma, and goldsmith Goossens, as well as the lingerie and swimwear brand Eres. It also houses an embroidery school.

The craftsmen who work there make pieces for various French and international brands in addition to being responsible for the production of the Métiers d’Art de Chanel collection, launched in 2002 to celebrate the know-how of the suppliers and workshops in Chanel’s orbit.

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